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15-Minute Activity Break for Kids

Self-paced outdoor breaks help children.

Healthy Kids Playing Outside

A 15-minute, self-paced outdoor activity break can help elementary schoolchildren improve alertness, cognitive performance and feelings of well-being, according to a citizen science study of 5,463 elementary schoolchildren in the United Kingdom.

Researchers found that pupils who participated in The Daily Mile™ program, designed as a self-paced break from classroom activity—during which children ran or walked for 15 minutes—performed better on cognitive tests and felt more positive than those who did not do the activity or who engaged in intense running. Children’s scores were lower after breaks involving no physical activity.

The findings are available in BMC Medicine (2020; doi:10.1186/s12916-020-01539-4).

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Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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